Man found guilty of assaulting nine-month-old girl

Mother says infant, who suffered fractured skull, looked ‘deformed on huge scale’ after incident

A 26-year-old man has been remanded in custody after being found guilty of an assault on his girlfriend’s infant daughter, which left the chld with a fractured skull. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

A 26-year-old man has been remanded in custody after being found guilty of an assault on his then girlfriend's infant daughter, which left the child with a fractured skull.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the child’s identity, denied a charge of assault causing serious harm to the infant at a location in Co Cork on December 31st, 2016.

The jury also found him guilty on charges of neglecting the nine-month-old girl and of seriously neglecting the infant’s two-year-old sister, all on dates between December 20th and December 30th, 2016. He had also denied those charges.

The children's mother told the four-day long trial at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that she returned home on December 31st, 2016 from a visit to the park with her mother to discover her then partner holding the infant. She said the child's head was "deformed on a huge scale".


The woman wept as she told the jury her daughter was clearly and visibly injured.

“Her ear was nearly down by her jaw. You could see blood vessels. She just seemed in shock. I screamed. I was crying, like I am now,” she said.


The woman said she asked him why he did not answer the phone earlier while she was out. “He said, ‘I was downstairs smoking a cigarette (at the front door). I heard three bangs. She was on the floor’.”

The woman said she remembered shouting at him and asking him to leave.

“He asked me could he take the Playstation I got him for Christmas – that was the end of all, just get the hell out of my house,” she told the court.

The woman said her relationship with the father of the two children had ended and she started seeing the defendant. She said he would make comments about the two children such as that the older girl’s ears had a likeness to her father.

A paramedic from the ambulance crew who arrived at the house to bring the nine-month-old to hospital told the court that the defendant told her the infant was sitting in the cot and crying when he went up to the bedroom.

The jury heard evidence that the infant was admitted to hospital on New Year’s Eve with up to 10 fractures, including a severely fractured skull. She was later transferred to Cork University Hospital where she underwent treatment for her injuries.


Prof Jonathan Hourihan, a consultant paediatrician, said there was a very significant skull fracture where there was a shattering of the skull. He said this was consistent with an assault rather than an accidental fall.

The jury took just under 90 minutes to find the defendant guilty on all three counts and Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin thanked them for their diligence and attention to the case. He remanded the accused in custody for sentence on February 22nd to allow for the preparation of a victim impact statement.

Judge Ó Donnabháin expressed concern about his apparent detachment during the case and defence barrister, Brendan Kelly BL, said he would take instructions from his client on whether he wished to submit a psychiatric report to the court.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times